I described the 5 benefits of mindful walking in my prior post, which were: 1) a settled mind, 2) an appreciation of nature, 3) a chance to breathe deeply, 4) problem solving moments and 5) gratitude. Mindful walking unfurls the senses and allows the imagination to roam. Sauntering embraces nature with respect, love and joy. Respect is both the requirement and the outcome of a caring practice.
When I resonate with the life around me and begin to feel gratitude, sauntering begins. My body falls into rhythm, flowing with the energy of the earth. Resonating with light and shadow, warm and cool, the scent of grass and trees and vibrant textures of sound and color. Connecting with the “flowering earth,” as Lady Bird Johnson liked to say, helped me discover the 3 R’s of sauntering .
Resonance is generally defined as 1) the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating and 2) the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighboring object. In sauntering, resonance occurs by realizing our mutuality and connection with life. It reveals beauty in humble and unexpected places, like these unassuming wood sorrel flowers. The way the light, shadows and color resonate illuminates their modest beauty.
Rhythm invites the body to join in the dance, as we sway with the movement of the trees and grasses, the flitting birds and butterflies. It helps the mind drop its concerns and open into being. Connecting with the rhythms of nature brings the world alive. Feeling the energy of the earth through the swing of your hips, tapping into the flow of life is joyful. Rhythm can complement resonance in composition, creating vibrant, dynamic impressions.
Rejuvenation arises by grounding resonance and rhythm in Nature. The many benefits of being in nature include building brain plasticity and reducing stress. Releasing your body mind from accumulated toxins, inactivity and too much indoor time is an act of self-care. Sauntering tells children of all ages that it’s okay to play.
Sauntering walks at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center integrate nature, art and health, mindfully. Being in nature and experiencing the body as an antennae for the energy of the earth is to be well, a part of life rather than apart.
Green Mind Theory: How Brain-Body-Behaviour Links into Natural and Social Environments for Healthy Habits is an interesting, far reaching research study in the UK detailing the ways in which the body mind flourishes in connection with nature, which could produce a more empathetic, integrated and environmentally healthy culture. Go green!